Ulster says….give us a few weeks


Momentous times. who would have thought 10, 20 years ago Big Ian would be sitting down with Gerry, ready to go into government, and especially with Martin McGuinness as his deputy first minister. In true point scoring style of course it couldn’t happen immediately and they have to wait a few weeks. The announcement prompted what will no doubt be the first of a number of resignations from both parties as the extremists show their unhappiness. I wonder sometimes do we realise just what has been achieved here, and how much the world looks on at a country that has spent most of the latter half of the 20th century ripping itself apart. Do we realise that we are being held up as a model of post-conflict society? Yes it is far from perfect and the divisions and attitudes are still there. The cost has been massive, and we must recognise that. For those who have lost family members, to see some of those responsible sitting in suits in Stormont must be stomach churning. We must address the fact that often to have peace means setting justice aside, that it requires drawing a line and moving on. Those are easy words for me to say I realise. I’m excited about May 8th and hope the politicians repay the trust and faith the public has placed in them as they get on with the task of governing. We all know how disastrous direct rule has been, at last again we have local people clued into (we hope) local issues. We have the first chinese (HK) born political representative in Europe. There are things to celebrate. We mustn’t however forget the work put in to get us to this place. Paisley and Adams are taking the plaudits but the real work was done by David Trimble and John Hume – mean of incredible courage, sadly maligned and cast aside. The Alliance party, the only middle ground party with members from both sides of the divide led with integrity by Lord Alderdice also deserves a mention.Perhaps in the coming years their contribution will be recognised properly, and the hard yards put in by the middle ground parties to bring the extremes together will pay off (Although obviously the ulster unionists need to shed the grey old men in suits image and have some good policies). As we look to the future I wonder how the next election will pan out, when the only thing on the table will be the day to day issues. Will we then see a balancing out of our political landscape?

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2 thoughts on “Ulster says….give us a few weeks”

  1. ‘we must address that often to have peace means setting justice aside, that it requires drawing a line and moving on’

    I’ve heard it described as a dance – truth, mercy, justice and peace all take their lead in their own time.

    So maybe Monday was mostly about peace and mercy but truth and justice can’t be merely set to one side.

    Personal experience of or witnessing images of bombings, grenade attacks, aftermaths of atrocities resonate with us because we can remember them. There follows a generation behind us whose collective memory begins post-1994 ceasefires but whose lives are shaped, whether they know/like it or not, by all that has gone on before and the divisions and attitudes that still exist.

    Much as we would like to draw a line and move on there remains a responsibility to remember the past in such a way that it helps us to move forward.

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